'Sesame Street' Turns 46 -- See How It's Changed Through the Years

Believe it or not, Sesame Street turned 46 years old on Tuesday. The beloved show has been a preschool staple for nearly 50 years, and honestly, do we ever really grow out of Big Bird and Elmo?


Of course, some people grow up into Oscar the Grouch, but that's a topic for another time!

Throughout the decades on the air, Sesame Street and the Muppet and human friends who live, work, and visit there have captured our imaginations. They've taught us to count and recognize letters, and have also introduced us to important social niceties from manners to maintaining friendships.

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But that doesn't mean that it hasn't evolved significantly from what it used to be. Big Bird may still only be 6 years old, but a lot has happened in his neighborhood in 46 years.

For example, did you know that Oscar the Grouch wasn't always green?

In 1976, Big Bird taught kids about elections when he ran for president. He lost to Jimmy Carter though. Or more likely, he was disqualified due to those pesky Constitutional age requirements.

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In the third season, the Yip Yip Aliens discovered the telephone, and it remains to this day one of my favorite three minutes of television ever. Brrrrrrrrnggggg! (I told you we never grow out of Sesame Street.)

When Will Lee (Mr. Hooper) died in 1982, the writers on the show decided not to recast his role or explain away his absence. Instead they dealt with his death. After consulting with child psychologists, they told Big Bird and his other friends that Mr. Hooper had died, that he wasn't coming back, and that they would miss him very much. They also explained that children would still be cared for, even when a loved one passed away.

There have been many more groundbreaking episodes of our beloved show, including most recently the introduction of an autistic character named Julia, to spread the message that all kids are amazing.

We can't wait to see what they'll tackle next.


Image via © Alexander Michael/Retna Ltd./Corbis

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